Canon C300 AF Upgrade

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First Canon introduced CMOS dual pixel phase-detection autofocus on its EOS 70D Digital SLR camera. Then it was announced as an upgrade for the C100. Now, continuous autofocus will be available as an upgrade on the EOS C300 with Canon autofocus lenses.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF works like this. All the available imaging pixels work both for imaging and phase-detection at the same time. Each pixel is made up of two photodiodes whose outputs are continuously compared. If there’s a phase difference, circuitry smoothly corrects to keep the image in focus. Of course, you need to use a Canon autofocus lens in auto mode, and tracking is done in the center of the frame. (20% of vertical and 25% of horizontal area.) This can be helpful when operating as a one-person band, running and gunning, for documentaries and probably wildlife wild hippo charging toward camera shots.

Canon says, “The Dual Pixel CMOS AF upgrade for the C300 camera supports continuous AF with all compatible Canon EF series lenses when shooting subjects positioned in the center of the imaging area. The technology involves complementary use of a contrast signal to achieve advanced autofocus stability that helps reduce the occurrence of loss of focus on a subject. Also included is an AF Lock which allows users to lock a focus point once AF is achieved and recompose the shot.  Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF also nearly doubles the speed of the EOS C300 Cinema camera’s One-Shot AF function, which enables a DP to focus on a subject located at the center of the screen with the push of a button, a feature that is currently supported on 104 Canon EF lens models.”

An upgraded C300 camera’s menu will have two options for “AF Mode” – One-Shot AF and Continuous Autofocus. The AF Lock can be assigned to one the camera’s buttons. Press the button to lock the focus, preventing the camera from refocusing, and then press it again when you want to return to continuous AF. It’s indicated by a white frame that turns gray when you push AF Lock.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera will be made available to users through an authorized Canon service center for a cost of around $500. For more information:  http://pro.usa.canon.com/EOSC300FeatureUpgrade

 

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Look: Cooke Anamorphic 40 mm

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Prototype Cooke Anamorphic 40 mm at T2.8. Photo by Jon Fauer of Cooke Optics Chairman Les Zellan taken at Micro Salon on Sony A7R with MTF PL to E-mount adapter. The beard is sharp, the skin tones are smooth, and there is remarkably no internal barrel flare from the desperately overexposed window. The shadow area retains detail. The pitch black area at far right remains black. Anamorphically funky and nice!

De-squeezed with Photoshop. Click on images for larger view.

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Cooke Anamorphic Tests

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At Micro Salon in Paris last week, Cooke Optics presented test films shot by John de Borman, BSC and Patrick Blossier, AFC. The Paris test is online on Vimeo.

The framegrabs above show some differences between a Cooke 75 mm anamorphic at T2.8 and a Cooke S4/i 40 mm at a T2.0 – 2.8 split. The Cooke anamorphic has “classic” oval bokehs (out of focus highlights), and the background seems less recognizable, more distant. Compare that with the spherical Cooke S4/i, with its rounded bokehs and more defined background.

Do you find the skin tones of the anamorphic slightly smoother and cosmetically silkier? The anamorphic shot also seems slightly less noisy (grainy), perhaps because it’s using most of the Alexa’s  4:3 picture area.

 

Anamorphic 2x on a 4:3 Alexa sensor uses a 376 sq. mm sensor area — approx. 21.20 x 17.74 mm (27.64 mm diagonal), which is 2570 x 2150 photosites.

Spherical Super35 2.39:1 widescreen (like the 40 mm Cooke S4/i above) on the Alexa uses a “letterboxed” 234 sq. mm sensor area — 23.66 x 9.90 mm (25.65 mm diagonal), which is 2868 x 1200 photosites.

Oh, and by the way, shooting 2x anamorphic on a 16:9 sensor of any manufacturer uses an image area of 211 square mm, and has a crop factor of 1.8x — because it uses less height and the left and right sides are “pillared.” So a 75 mm anamorphic on a 16:9 sensor camera will appear like a 135 mm.

 

An article on Cooke anamorphic lenses and a visit to the Cooke Optics factory in Leicester is coming in our NAB edition.

 

Credits for the Paris test:

  • Cinematographer: Patrick Blossier, AFC
  • 1st Camera Assistant: Maeva Drecq
  • DIT Julien Bullat
  • 2nd AC: Florent Bethelot
  • Producer: Danys Bruyere, TSF
  • For EMIT: Andrew Steele, Benjamin Steele
  • Post-production supervisor: Jean Delduc, Sylicone
  • Camera: ARRI Alexa XT (4:3 sensor)

Click on the images above to enlarge.

 

 

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CP+ Camera Show Japan

In addition to remembering Feb. 14 on our calendars as Valentines day, we also mark Feb 13 – Feb 16  for this year’s biggest Camera Show in Japan: CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Yokohama.

And it shows clear, that the popularity of this show grows every year. Last year, for the first time, a space for video and video accessories was reserved. This was experimental, because, after all, it was designated as a Photo Show. At the first day of this year’s show, the presence of professional video cameras could already be seen. Word had gotten around that this show was not just for still photographers anymore.

Unfortunately for the exhibition, on the second day, Tokyo and surroundings were covered with heavy snow fall. A week earlier,  Tokyo experienced its heaviest snowfall in 45 years — with a lot of transportation in and around Tokyo canceled. On the 3rd day, the snowfall was so heavy that the show organizers decided to cancel the show on that day, which fell on Saturday the 14th. The scheduled talk of US Magnum Photographer Steve McCurry was canceled as well.

With 62,597 visitors in 2013, the 2014 show had  42,203 total visitors.

The exhibit itself showcased the latest in cameras, lenses, and accessories — with models and event girls mixed in between. This is always the main attraction for most amateur photographers: to have a chance to get close to professional models and snap photos.

Seminars and demo shooting by photographers with models on various stages were a big attraction.

For a visitor who comes every year, it is very clear that the trend goes toward a hybrid of still and motion.

Red had a booth showing their flagship: a carbon fibre Epic with 6k Dragon sensor, which shaves off 1 pound of the camera weight. Red showed the possibility of using a RED camera for still photos.

GoPro and  DJI Quad Copters exhibited for the first time at CP+.

One corner was reserved for the JCII Camera Museum, which showed a variety of film based cameras of different formats and with some very long lenses.

Text and Photos by Dorian Weber, Tokyo

Click on first image for slideshow:

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BSC Expo – Images Added

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The 2014 BSC Expo was held at Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, near London, on January 24 and 25. This year, the Expo hosted around 2.500 visitors—up from last year at Pinewood.

Attending the Expo was also an opportunity to visit part of the newly restored Studio. The facility was a historical WW II airfield and Rolls Royce aircraft factory. The studio was home to “James Bond (GoldenEye)” in 1995 and all eight “Harry Potter” films through 2010. The factory used as a studio was so enormous that crews joked it had its own weather system (icy cold in winter, wind howling inside). Warner Bros spent over $140 million renovating it into a modern film and television studio complex. With a quarter million square feet of stage space, it competes with Pinewood and Shepperton.

This Expo was a compact show with around 80 exhibitors from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and USA—with cameras, lenses, supports, lights, audio, VFX and possible pre-NAB products. BSC seminars were held in the Expo theatre.

IMAGO President Nigel Walters, BSC told FDTimes “The BSC Expo of 2014 at Warner Bros Leavesden Studios will be remembered as the Vittorio Storaro Show.  The British launch of his magnificent book “The Art of Cinematography” was an unqualified success. The overflow audience was fascinated for over two hours by his exposition on visual storytelling and the importance of the image.”

In his introduction to the man regarded as one of the ten most important Cinematographers of all time, the IMAGO President praised the vision of some of the great Italian Cinematographers, Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC, Giuseppe Rotunno, ASC, AIC, and especially Luciano Tovoli, ASC, AIC of the AIC (Italian Society of Cinematographers) by inspiring the Societies of Europe to create IMAGO.

“The homage created in this fine book ‘The Art of Cinematography’ is itself a tribute to the 150 great Cinematographers featured in its pages. It is also a tribute to the passion of its creator Vittorio Storaro.”

Almost an hour prior to Storaro’s conference, all 50 seats of the seminar theatre were taken and at least 60 people stood around the 3 time Academy Award winner (“Apocalypse Now”, “Reds,” “The last Emperor”). For over two hours, the crowd of young cinematographers, operators, students from film schools and enthusiasts, listened in total silence, eager to hear this Master of Cinematography explain in detail the meaning of his philosophy of light and color, inspired by Goethe’s theory of colors; and stimulated by Caravaggio’s unique vision of light and chiaroscuro shadows.

Before the screening of a special video on the phases of his extraordinary creative career – produced by the American Society of Cinematographers for Storaro’s Lifetime Achievement Award – he talked about his  graduation in 1960 from the Italian Film Institute (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia) followed by his first film as cinematographer on Franco Rossi’s “Giovinezza Giovinezza”. Storaro talked about when he met Bernardo Bertolucci with whom he made “The Conformist”, “Last Tango in Paris”, “1900”, “La luna”, “The last Emperor” “The Sheltering Sky” and “Little Buddha”. Anecdotes on his relationship with the directors he worked with and technical details on his cinematography on “Apocalypse Now”, “Reds”, “Dick Tracy”, “Tucker”, “One from the Heart”, “Bulworth”, “Tango” and “Goya in Burdeos”, “Flamenco” “Caravaggio” and operas as “Traviata” and “Rigoletto” all the way to his recent “Mohammed” directed by Majid Majidi and shot in Iran.

He then presented his latest book “The Art of Cinematography” which he decribed as “a great visual experience…a tribute to 150 Cinematographers from Cinematographers… that underscores the fundamental place of the Cinematographer in the creation of the Seventh Art.”

Bob Fisher wrote the text for 75 entries and Lorenzo Codelli, a well-known Italian writer and film critic, the other 75.  The book, published by Skira and Aurea, is in both English and Italian, and each entry is accompanied by a “double vision” image… a photo collage created by Storaro to represent the imagery in each film and a DVD. Daniele Nannuzzi, AIC and Luciano Tovoli consulted on the 3 year long project.

To end the presentation, he screened a very interesting thirteen minute video made by Daniele Nannuzzi that showed some original footage of the films illustrated in the book.

Later, Storaro was asked to sign several autographs and at one point a young camera operator asked him: “After Italian Neorealism, in Italy, what developed more– the art of cinematography or camera movement?” Vittorio stared at him in dismay… smiled, and asked him if he had any children. “Yes,” said the operator. “Well,” Vittorio said “to have a baby you need a man and a woman and in filming it’s the same… to make a film you need Cinematography and Camera moves, the two are one and cannot be separated….”

We took a slow stroll around the booths and saw the RED Dragon on display, working in 6K, wireless focus and zoom and touch-control monitors. The Amira from ARRI. The Panavision motorized camera axis and their new Primo V Series, ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphics, Cooke’s new Anamorphic primes and the Angenieux 25-250mm PL DP Lens; the Mini Libra head from Camera Revolution, and the MoVi — the miniature remote stabilised Head that can be mounted on bicycles, motorcyles or hand held.

Tiffen presented their Diffusion Test Film showing their 4K Diffusion tests. The tests included a series of comparisons of many varieties of Tiffen diffusion, fog, smoque and other filters. The screen was “split” to show with and without filter on two models.

Servicevision showed a split screen test image with or without the stabilization on their new Scorpio Head.

Another attraction was the iDailies Lab and transfer booth. iDailies, in cooperation with Kodak, is one of the only two companies processing film and original negative in the UK.

Transvideo, cmotion, Dedolight, Vitec Group, Ronford-Baker, Sony, Schneider, K5600 Lighting, Codex, Steadicam, Lee Filters, Panalux, Lite Panel, Octica Professional displaying Cartoni, Mole Richardson, Matthews were among the other exhibitors of this successful BSC Expo.

Cooke Optics

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Tour of Cooke Optics (Leicester, England) and a look at the team designing and building Cooke lenses and the new Cooke Anamorphic primes — coming in our NAB edition.

Photo (low rez jpeg) above: Cooke 2x Anamorphic 40mm on Sony A7R.

 

 

ARRI Amira $39.9K

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As expected, ARRI announced the price of Amira cameras today.

The camera with viewfinder base price is $39,999.00.

A large and varied list of accessories and options allow the camera to be customized. The Amira, in case anyone missed the demos at IBC and elsewhere, is a documentary-style, shoulder-resting, 35mm HD and 2K camera. The ergonomics are superb, remind me of the 16SR, but are even better with sliding, balancing top and base, and all kinds of custom-configurable ways to shoot.

There are three camera configurations to choose from, depending on the software:

  1. The “entry-level” AMIRA has Rec. 709 ProRes 422 HD recording up to 100 fps.
  2. The “middle model” adds Log C, ProRes 422 (HQ) to 200 fps, in-camera grading , pre-record function, etc.
  3. The “top of the line” software set  adds ProRes 4444 and 2K up to 200 fps, as well as color control on set and in post with custom 3D LUTs.

It’s almost like buying a new Mac Pro or Mercedes. After you decide on software, you pick the ergonomic package:

  1. Lens mount (PL, etc)
  2. battery mount (Anton/Bauer, V-mount)
  3. bottom plate (shoulder pad, flat, etc.)

Delivery is expected after March 2014.

Call your local ARRI dealer for full details and prices. Like they say in the TV commercials, “Operators are standing by.” Camera Operators too.

 

(Photo above: ARRI Amira with Fujinon Cabrio zoom lens)

 

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International FDTimes Online

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Film and Digital Times February 2014 Double Issue 58-59 is now online and ready to download for subscribers.

Here is the introduction — also available in the free preview:

 

Above, Below and Bottom Line

The Business of the Business

The phone rang. “Mr. Starr on the line.” My pulse quickened to 120 fps. Maurice Starr, studio chieftain and latest tycoon, is a constant critic of Film and Digital Times.

The barking began, “Whaddaya, whaddaya got—delusions of Dickens? Are they paying you by the pound of paper? Just give me two pages of coverage so I don’t have to read the rest.”

Monty is accustomed to summary. The scripts upon which his head rests are covered, SUMMARIZED! by a squadron of readers.

News from the Times, FDTimes, Hollywood Reporter, and Variety is culled by a team of interns who cut, with SCISSORS! and paste the headlines on sheets of paper.

The usually predictable Hollywood weather is reduced to a one-liner by Driton the driver, “Nice day today, sir.”

Box office, studio fortunes and the latest disasters are dispatched perfunctorily. Tycoons like Starr have little time for 80 pages of wisdom on the technique and technology of the business. Tycoons are interested in getting down to the business of the business.

This nascent column was conjured up during a subsequent phone call from Volker Bahnemann, my mentor with the most prescient predictions. He said, “How about writing something for film executives and business people? Executives and decision makers of our industry may base some of their investments and planning on your well informed writing. They depend on understanding the technology and trends that you cover.”

So, here’s FDTimes condensed coverage from the business of the business point of view. We remain neutral as the Swiss, names are respected, NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements) are scrupulously protected, Off the Record comments are withheld, and idle speculation is avoided. Welcome to our newest addition to this edition: “Above, Below and Bottom Line.” I have included headlines for the job security of Maurice Starr’s scissor-wielding interns.

Sensors will get bigger

This is the year we will see more 24 x 36 mm sensors from the full frame DSLR world appear in digital motion picture cameras.

Multi format digital cameras

Format is the size of the image on the sensor—shown by the framelines and aspect ratio. (Format can also mean file type or compression format, like RAW JPEG, ProRes—but not now.)

The idea of multiple formats goes back to the beginning of film history. 35mm film was a universal standard for more than a hundred years. But many different formats were available within that standard. All you had to do was put a mask in the gate and change to a different groundglass. In fact, there are so many selectable film formats, they fill a 98-page online Ground Glass and Format Guide from ARRI and a 96-page guide from Clairmont Camera.

And not only 35mm. Want a larger format to get people away from their tiny home TVs and back into movie theaters? If it’s 1954 and you’re Douglas Shearer at MGM, Robert Gottschalk, president of Panavision, or Mike Todd, you call Kodak and get a commitment for 65mm and 70mm film negative and prints. Even earlier, 70mm film was used at the Henley Regatta in 1896 and the Paris World Exposition in 1900.

Cut to January 2014. We basically have 35mm digital motion picture cameras with aspect ratios of 4:3 (ARRI Alexas), 16:9 (Sony, Canon, Blackmagic, Nikon, GoPro, Phantom Flex 4K) and 2:1 (RED Dragon). Gaze into the haze of the tea leaves for NAB and IBC 2014. You are delighted if your cameras have sensors 18 mm high—which do not crop the huge selection of new anamorphic 2x lenses coming out. If your digital motion picture cameras are using sensors 13.8 mm high or less, your customers are probably beseeching you to provide cameras that will accommodate all these new anamorphic lenses. So, what’s a designer to do?

My guess is that rather than try to stretch a mere 3 mm more in height, there will be a leap directly to sensors with 24 mm height. After all, that’s a ready-made sensor size (24 x 36 mm) in the digital still arena, and there are millions of them being fabricated.

RED, of course, predicted the digital motion picture paradigm of DSLR technology at 24 fps and faster, with larger sensors, selectable formats, and increased resolution.

And what of the R&D departments in Munich, Hollywood and Woodland Hills? I look to 1954 and remember that history repeats itself. Formats even larger than those available to mere mortals are always intriguing. Mere mortals buy; Tycoons rent.

The most important thing about designing selectable format CMOS sensors, I think, is to accommodate the lowest common denominator. So if you are planning to put 16mm or B4 lenses on your camera, those formats should have at least HD capability. You then do the math up from there.

PL and PV Predominate (for now)

Lest these pronouncements produce dispepsia among lensmeisters in Leicester, Oberkochen, Wetzlar, Saint-Héand, and Saitama, they can take comfort in hearing that 95% of high end features and commercials are using PL or Panavision mount lenses on variations of the Academy format. But I wouldn’t be complacent. Read Dr. Winfried Scherle’s interview.

Things will get sharper

Jon Thorn of AJA writes, “Consumer electronic introductions often help define when an emerging technology is about to become a standard. While many Ultra HD/4K monitors were introduced at CES this year, perhaps more importantly, new content creation devices and content delivery services were also revealed.”

Mr. Maeda of Canon says, “Imagine if you had a baby today, you would think about the future of this baby, and you would want to record everything in 4K. Once we see a better picture, we don’t want to go back to a lower level. That’s what we saw with the Standard Definition to High Definition transition. Nobody today would want to see SD anymore.”

Bryce Button of AJA writes that the emergence of 4K and Ultra HD as primary capture sources for projects moving forward is well established today. This evolution makes a lot of pragmatic sense as the resolution available finally meets a digital alternative to the film negative that has been the cornerstone of media mastering for over a century.

Fastest Computers Win

In Who Owns the Future, Jaron Lanier writes, “In the past, a revolution in production, such as the industrial revolution, generally increased the wealth and freedom of people. The digital revolution we are living through is different.” Companies with the fastest computers and largest storage succeed. This will be true for cameras, post production, and delivery.

Omikuji

O-mikuji are fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. Tengenjutsu is another form of divination, established in the Edo period by the Buddhist monk Tenkai, who served several Shoguns.

By the way, the provenance of 3 billion fortune cookies made in the US each year may be a bakery near a temple outside Kyoto, according to an article by Jennifer Lee in the New York Times. “The bakery has used the same 23 fortunes for decades. In contrast, Wonton Food in Brooklyn has a database of well over 10,000 fortunes.”

This edition of FDTimes is a tale of several cities: Tokyo and Kyoto, Jena and Oberkochen, Munich and Paris, New York and Hollywood, and many more places. Our journey begins in Japan, not to  dabble in divination, but to study the state of our art and learn about the state of production there. There were some surprises.

InterBEE  had been described as “a small, local show.” It turned out that this local show gets more than 30,000 visitors. Here in the land of Sony, Canon, Fujifilm and electronic giants, 40% of high-end production is still shot on film. There are 5 film labs running in Tokyo—more than any other city, I think. 98% of high-end digital motion picture production was done on a German camera, the ARRI Alexa, and more than 300 features were produced last year. Maybe this should not have been such a surprise. Many of the film production executives drove in German cars. The skilled optical workers at Canon and Fujinon lens factories are called Lensmeisters. There is a fascination with European brands and French food…and perfection.

 

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French FDTimes Online

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Just in time for the AFC annual Micro Salon in Paris, our 28-page FDTimes Special Edition in French  is now online and free to download. 28 Pages, 5.5 MB.

This and all French editions can be downloaded free: fdtimes.com/french

Cree LED Practicals

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I was looking for good LED practicals shaped practically like regular lightbulbs. Something to replace the venerable 75 watt tungsten 211 bulb inside a paper Chinese lantern without the thrill of fire hazard or incineration. And to replace the tungsten and CFL bulbs in the office and at home.

Jim Sanfilippo, President of NILA, makers of Zaila, Varsa, Boxer and SL, knows a thing or two about LED lighting and recommended Cree, Inc. He’s right. They look and act like their ancestors. Their light is good for film, video, and photography.

The Cree 13.5 watt TW Series Soft White LED Bulb provides the equivalent of a 60 watt tungsten bulb: 800 lumens, 2700 Kelvin, with a remarkable 93 CRI (Color Rendering Index.) Unlike some other household LEDs, The Cree TW bulb looks and is shaped like a traditional A-Type bulb. It strikes instantly, dims, and is rated for 25,000 hours–which is a lot more than our union minimum health eligibility hours.

At the moment, the TW Series of 93 CRI bulbs also comes in 40 watts 2700 K.

 

Their regular series A-Type 80 CRI bulbs come in 40 watts (2700 K), 60 watts (2700 or 5000 K) and 75 watt (2700 and 5000 K). There are also 65 watt (2700 K and 5000 K) Reflector photoflood style bulbs — and more products to come.

Home Depot sells Cree bulbs in  stores and online.

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Terre di Cinema in Sicily

 FESTIVAL & INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON CINEMATOGRAPHY 

“TERRE DI CINEMA” (Taormina, Sicily)

by Jacques Lipkau Goyard

As Federico Fellini once wrote, “In cinema, light is the idea, the feeling, the color, the depth, the atmosphere, the style, the narrative, the poetic expression. Motion Pictures are written by light.”

Light in Taormina, Sicily is extraordinary. As you look over the Ionian Sea from the city,  you can see far up and down the eastern coast of the island with its extraordinarily coloued landscape and nature.

Be sure to take your camera for you will want shots from several locations – the Greek open air theatre, Isolabella, Mount Etna’s volcano, and several side streets that lead to the edge of the bluff. The sun comes up on this side of Sicily, so early morning sunrises are just spectacular…and just the right time to enjoy a tempting almond-flavored “granita” with “brioche”, a semi-frozen dessert made from lemon and ice with a croissant that locals savor for breakfast.

This is what Vincenzo Condorelli sees and tastes every day when he visits “his” Sicily. Vincenzo, born in nearby Catania, has a Master of Arts in Filmaking from the London Film School. He is a member of A.I.C. – Associazione Italiana Autori Fotografia Cinematografica (the Italian Society of Cinematographers); recipient of the prestigious U.K. Kodak Student Commercial Award – Best in Brief; worked as a Cinematographer around the world, from Europe to Hong Kong, Africa, India to Brazil, the Middle East and South America, shooting motion pictures, commercials, television and documentaries.

He told FDTImes about his passion for Cinematography and his teaching experience that brought him, three years ago, to conceive “Terre di Cinema”, the International Festival and  Meeting on Cinematography. It takes place in Forza d’Agrò, a beautiful medieval hilltop town between the Peloritani Mountains and Mount Etna, at the monumental XVI century Monastery of Sant Agostino, a few minutes north of  Taormina, whose unique appeal and timeless beauty is described by Goethe in his Italian Journey.

2013 was Vincenzo’s third edition as Artistic Director of “Terre di Cinema”, held from September 1st to September 10th with the official support and cooperation of  of the Sicily Film Commission and MIBAC – Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the AIC, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Italy’s national film school), and others.

This year, the Festival and Meetings were sponsored by leading brands, including: ANGENIEUX, ARRI Italia, AVID, CARTONI, D-VISION, JVC, PANATRONICS-ZEISS, TECHNOVISION…

The Sicilian Festival quickly became an international celebration of art and craft of Cinematography, attended every year by famed DPs, actors and members of the European motion picture and television industry.

But what makes this event unique is the original CineCampus, a fully immersive campus dedicated to students from prestigious international film schools. This year’s visiting guests came from Narafi – Luca School of Arts (Belgium), Tel Aviv University Film & Television Department (Israel), Estudio de Cine – Barcelona (Spain) and from Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Scuola Nazionale di Cinema.

Against a background of training, lectures, artistic and technical workshops, public screenings and meetings with Festival attendees; 18 CineCampus students under professional guidance teamed up in internationally mixed crews and shot 8 short films in Taormina and its superb surroundings.

The 8 CineCampus short films were inspired by some of the famous films that were shot in Forza d’Agrò, such as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy or in Taormina like Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura, Luc Besson’s Le Grand Bleu or in Savoca, The Godfather, or Joseph Losey’s Modesty Blaise in Castello S. Alessio, and the Natural Park of the Alcantara River where Paolo Cavara shot Virilità.

The student crews were able to have their hands on some of the best professional equipment available today, such as the ARRI Alexa XT and L Series LED Lighting, supplied by ARRI Italia’s General Manager Antonio Cazzaniga (Festival supporter since 2011); while the camera supports, Chroziel matte boxes, SHAPE rigs, Cineroid lights, Angénieux’s Optimo Zoom 45-120mm came from CARTONI along with the Maxima, Focus and HiDV Fluid Heads & tripods and the JIBo with a Smart Head. Alessandro Pacifici and Stefano Gradassi from CARTONI attended the Festival and assisted the students throughout the shoot and workshops.

Riccardo Mangiarotti, Panatronics’ chairman and ZEISS dealer for Italy supplied ZEISS Compact Primes series, a 70-200mm Zoom along with a Sony F3 and F5. JVC provided the students with DT-V9L5 and DTE15L4 series monitors for onboard and postproduction.

The shorts were edited and postproduced on two Avid Media Composer 7 suites supplied by AVID with the assistance of Giuseppe Angilello (Sales) and Paolo Pastore (Editor).

Each of the sponsors held dedicated technical workshops and product presentations for the students and Festival’s attendees.

Sant Agostino’s Monastery hosted the screenings and the Q&A with the audience, while lectures and master classes were held in the modern conference room on site.  Technical workshops and exercises were performed in other areas of the structure. Sant Agostino also hosted the world première exhibit “Franco & Tonino Delli Colli, Cinema di Famiglia”, a tribute through an unreleased set of pictures (Delli Colli family archive) to a generation of Cinematographers who made the history of Italian and international cinema. 

The Festival’s interesting “New Cinematographers” section was dedicated to promising Cinematographers who distinguished themselves in major international film festivals. The “Masters of Light” section was a tribute to great Cinematographers of the pas, who left their mark in the history of cinema.

This year, the “Focus On” section was a retrospect on Israel’s film industry, and a perspective of its emergent Cinematographers.  Finally, the “Italian New Wave” section hosted a selection of the most interesting debuts in the Italian industry.

The Cinematographers and films in competition for the 2013 TERRE DI CINEMA – New Cinematographers Award were:

  • Guy Raz, Epilogue (Hayuta and Berl) (Israel, 2012)
  • Krum Rodriguez, The Color of the Chameleon (Bulgaria, 2012)
  • Juraj Chlpik, Dom (Cech republic, 2011)
  • Francesca Amitrano, Là-Bas Educazione Criminale (Italy, 2011)
  • Florent Herry, Jin (Turkey, 2013)

The 2013 Terre di Cinema Jury, formed by the students attending the CineCampus, assigned the New Cinematographers Award to Krum Rodriguez (BAC) for his remarkable cinematography. His film, The Color of the Chameleon was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to represent Bulgaria for Best Foreign film in 2014.

“Masters of Light” this year was a tribute, beyond the exhibit, to legendary Cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli (AIC, ASC) and his cousin, Franco Delli Colli (AIC) who was Tonino’s trustworthy camera operator, before becoming a Cinematographer himself, with screenings and a seminar. Special guests were: Stefano Delli Colli, journalist and son of Tonino, Laura Delli Colli, Franco’s daughter and chairman of SNGCI, (Italy’s Union of Film Critic Journalists).

“Focus on” was held on the opening night of the Festival, focusing on the new Israeli Cinema screening (Italian premiere) of Ran Tal’s documentary Garden of Eden (Israel, 2012), with Daniel Kedem’s Cinematography. Lectures and debates on the new Israeli cinema were held by Dan Muggia, artistic director of the Pitigliani Kolno’a Festival, Italy’s Jewish Film Festival, official partner of TERRE DI CINEMA, with the patronage of the Israeli Embassy in Italy.

“Italian New Wave” proposed the most interesting Italian directing debuts of the season, with two screenings “Amiche da Morire” (Italy, 2013), directed by Giorgia Farina, Cinematography by Arnaldo Catinari (AIC), and “Itaker” (Italy, 2012) directed by Toni Trupia, Cinematography by Maurizio Calvesi (AIC). The screenings were followed by Q&As with the Directors and the Cinematographers, focusing on the relationship between the two on the set.

In 2014, TERRE DI CINEMA will take place from June 22 to July 6 and next year the Festival will be in partnership as a joint-venture with various events, highlighted by the “Nastro d’Argento” Ceremony (the Italian Oscars equivalent) to be held on June 28 at the Greek open air theater.

For more in-depth info on the Festival masterclasses, participants, videos, screenings and updates on TERRE DI CINEMA – FESTIVAL AND INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS ON CINEMATOGRAPHY please refer to:  www.terredicinema.com   and  www.vincenzocondorelli.com

Photos by Eva de Gols (NARAFI-LUCA School of Arts), Serena Capparelli and Vincenzo Consentino (University of Messina). Click on first image to see slideshow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sony F55/F5 V3.0 Update: 16mm Mode

Sony F55 with ARRI/ZEISS Ultra 16 6 mm prime lens

Sony F55 with ARRI/ZEISS Ultra 16 6 mm prime lens

One of the highlights of Sony’s F5, F55, and AXS-R5 new Version 3.0 Update is the ability to shoot Super 16mm  format on the camera’s S35 sensor. There are countless 16mm lenses, zooms and primes. Many are languishing on shelves. Most are smaller and lighter than their 35mm cousins–and best of all, they have probably been paid for long ago. Since the F5/F55 cameras have a Super35 4K sensor, the smaller image diagonal of the S16 format occupies the sensor’s HD or 2K real estate comfortably. The new firmware crops and scales the image, similar to the process in a Nikon D800 that accepts both APS-C and full frame still formats.

This update may achieve the holy grail, long envisioned by Joe Dunton, Alfred Piffl, and many others of a practical Super16 Digital Cinema Camera. You don’t need 2x extenders (doublers) which lose 2 stops of light and reduce sharpness. Here are my preliminary calculations:

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December was the Waypoint on Sony’s F5/F55 Roadmap for Version 3.0 release. They are right on schedule, with a few days to spare.

Sony F5/F55 Update 3.0 includes more than 30 new features, including the Center Scan mode for Super16 just mentioned:

1. XAVC QFHD Recording
F55 supports XAVC QFHD, 3840 × 2160 recording. Supported frame rates are 23.98PsF, 25.0PsF, 29.97PsF, 50.0P and 59.94P.

2. MPEG HD 1280x720p recording
F5/F55  frame rates of 50.0P and 59.94P. Video output format is HD 1280 × 720p or SD signal via SDI outputs.

3. S&Q motion on XAVC 4K and QFHD
F55 gets Slow & Quick Motion when the recording format is XAVC 4K or QFHD at frame rate of 1 – 60 fps in 1 frame increments.

4. Additional S&Q frame rate in XAVC HD 1920 x 1080
In XAVC HD, available frame rates are 1-60, 72, 75, 80, 90, 96, 100, 110, 120, 125, 135, 144, 150, 160, 168, 175 and 180 fps when 23.98, 24.0, 29.97, or 59.94 is selected. And 1-60, 72, 75, 80, 90, 96, 100, 110, 120, 125, 135, 144 and 150 fps when 25.0 or 50.0 is selected.

 5. S&Q motion on XAVC 2K 2048 x 1080
F5/F55 does Slow & Quick Motion in XAVC 2K, 2048 x 1080 with same frame rates as XAVC HD, above.

6. Additional FPS on RAW recording
RAW recording frame rates: 1-60, 72, 75, 80, 90, 96, 100, 110, 120, 125, 135, 144, 150, 160, 168, 175, 180 and 240.

7. Center Scan mode on Slow and Quick motion
Choice of Center Scan mode or Full Scan mode in Slow and Quick motion for shooting above 60 fps.

8. Center Scan mode for Super 16mm lenses
Lets you can use Super 16mm lenses and record XAVC HD, XAVC 2K, SStP and 2K RAW. Image is scaled (you don’t see it as a window within the larger 35mm frame).

9. User definable clip naming

10. AES/EBU digital audio input
Digital audio input with AES/EBU format is available. Four channel audio inputs are available by two AES/EBU connectors.

11. RAW playback via F5/F55’s connectors
RAW output from the AXS-R5 attached to F5/F55 from SDI, HDMI and VF connectors on the PMW-F5/F55. Also selected MLUT is applied to RAW Playback signal.

12. Save and Load Lens file and Scene file via SD memory card
Up to 64 Scene Files and up to 64 Lens Files can be saved on an SD memory card. Saved files can be loaded to the internal memory.

13. Cine-EI on SxS recording
Cine-EI mode is selectable without AXS-R5. During SxS recording only, you can change Exposure Index.

14. New S-Log3 and S-Gamut3
Adjusted for digital cinema (DCI-P3).

15. User LUT, 3D LUTs – Look Profile
User LUTs (1D and 3D) are added for Monitor LUT selection. User LUTs are created with Sony’s RAW Viewer V2.1. Up to 6 User LUTs can be stored on the internal memory via an SD card.

16. Independent Monitor LUT

17. Auto Iris
Auto Iris for Sony FZ Zoom lens SCL-Z18X140, PL lenses that support Auto Iris, or Auto-Iris B4 lenses with Sony’s LA-FZB2 FZ-B4 Lens mount adapter.

18. 100% Marker
100% Frame lines.

19. Marker ON/OFF for each output
Frame lines can be turned On/Off independently in Viewfindfer and SDI/HDMI connected monitors.

20. Hi/Low Key function
Hi/Low Key function as assignable button to check clipped highlights and crushed blacks. Works with MLUT ON outputs.

21. Black Gamma function
To compensate gamma of low luminance scenes.

22. 2K/HD 59.94/50.0P RGB 3G-Dual output
At 59.94 or 50.0, an RGB 3G-Dual output (SMPTE ST424/425 Level-B).

23. Clip metadata output from SDI
File name information can be embedded in the SDI output for use by external recorders and on-set color grading tools supporting clip metadata.

24. Additional Menu items for Wi-Fi remote control

 

Version 3.0 Firmware Updates and Documents can be downloaded directly from the Sony website.

Read the fine print carefully: This firmware can be updated from V2.0, V2.10 and V2.11. When you want to update F55 and F5 from V1.22 and earlier, you must update to V2.0 first. For information about V2.0, see PMW-F55/F5 Firmware Version V2.0 Release notes (Oct 4th, 2013). F55/F5 must not be downgraded to previous versions after updating to V2.11.

In addition, when you update and use F55/F5 with AXR-R5, you must update R5 to V3.0 at the same time.

 

JBOD – Just A Bunch Of Disks

Panic was palpable in the Mac community. Without room in the new Mac Pro for extra hard drives, where would all the storage go?

MacPro_Back_Glow_PRINT

New Mac Pro

After all, our old aluminum perforated 2010-2012 Mac Pro towers had bays for up to four 4 TB drives.

5big_TB_two-views_1-drive

LaCie 5big Thunderbolt storage

After lots of phone calls, advice from experts like AJA’s Jon Thorn and others, we’re happy at the moment with LaCie’s 5big Thunderbolt 20 TB massive storage cube. There are 5 bays. Each bay holds one 4 TB Seagate hard drive. (You can also buy the 5big with 10 TB total storage, 5 x 2TB). One supplied Thunderbolt cable connects the LaCie 5big to the Thunderbolt connector of your new Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iMac, or MacBook Air. We’re using dual 27″ Apple Thunderbolt displays daisy chained together.

The LaCie 5big comes configured in RAID 0 (where it appears on the desktop as one giant 20 TB drive) but I prefer the JBOD mode: Just A Bunch Of Disks. JBOD mode is closest to what we had on the old Mac Pro: one Drive Icon on the desktop per drive:

ScreenShot-Drives

Drive 1 is dedicated to Film and Digital Times content and layout. Drive 2 is a Carbon Copy Clone for scheduled data backup. Drive 3 is for FCP Video and RAW still “negatives.” Drive 4 is for AVID media and projects. Drive 5 is where we send files for archival storage. Note that FCP and AVID editing is done at proxy, “offline” resolution here.

I played around with software Raid 1 (Mirrored) configurations, but that was annoying because after removing a drive to shuttle (sneaker-net) data to another machine, the mirrored set became “unglued.”

The LaCie 5big is blissfully quiet. Its aluminum Neil Poulton designed chassis and large, dual fans dissipate heat so silently that the only way to tell it’s on is by the large blue eye on the front or the little LED drive lights in back.

Installing your own drives voids the warranty, but since LaCie is owned by Seagate, you can purchase spare drives from 2 to 4 TB in hot-swappable trays.

JBOD is not the configuration of choice for native 4K editing. For that, you’ll want to consider other RAID scenarios. More on that later.

For more information, see the LaCie 5Big product page.

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Happy Holidays

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Happy Holidays from Film and Digital Times. Thanks to our supporters, sponsors and subscribers for a stellar year.  Ready to tack into an exciting 2014. Jibe-ho ho ho.

Cinematographic wind vane from Normandy, commissioned and shipped by Jacques Delacoux, President of Transvideo / Aaton Digital, sits atop FDTimes’ Studio in Southampton, Long Island. 

 

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21:9 UHD TV from Samsung & LG

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas can be a  window on where we are heading with brave new formats.

New 21:9 UHD widescreen 105″ TVs will be shown Jan 7 -10 by Samsung and LG. Do the math. Yikes, that’s 2.33:1. Not 2.39:1 or 2.35:1. Or maybe it’s 2.37:1, if you count pixels. The 105-inch curved Samsung and LG TVs have 11 million pixels (5120 x 2160).

Also inscrutable is why these TVs are curved. Perhaps you will pack your living room with an entire neighborhood of guests all clamoring for equal opportunity of a Cinerama style mini experience. Or maybe, because this is even higher resolution for widescreen than what you’d see projected in a theater, it’s intended to compete. (DCI spec for widescreen projected 4K  is equally inscrutable at 4096 x 1714.)

The winners could be the makers and renters of the new wave of anamorphic 2x lenses and high performance spherical lenses with excellent performance all the way to those wide screen edges.

And how will content be delivered? Overnight downloadable on demand, slightly faster than Fedex next day Air. But I vote for SD cards. An 8 GB card costs around $6 and doesn’t need any moving parts like a DVD or Blu-ray player.

 

 

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le Flux de Travail (Workflow)

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Workflow Panel: From left to right: Madelyn Most,Tommaso Vergallo (Digimage), Tom Crocker (Sony), Paul Atkinson (Canon), Henning Rädlein (ARRI), Roberto Schaefer (ASC), Philipe Ros (AFC). Photo by Etienne Bacci.

Article by Florian Berthellot

Seminar at Camerimage: “Digital Cameras, Creative Workflows. Problems with invisible reasons, solutions with visible results.” Conference hosted with the help of Kazik Suwala (Camerimage), Ainara Porron (Sony Europe) & Irena Gruca (FilmPRO).

Amidst all the screenings and seminars at the Camerimage festival there was a drôle d’oiseau (funny bird, strange beast), a hybrid conference with an overview of flux de travail, (workflow) which in reality is not so obvious or easy to understand.

The conference was initiated by Roberto Schaefer and Philippe Ros, cinematographers, and Madelyn Most, a specialized journalist, and gathered an impressive panel and equally impressive audience: cinematographers, equipment rental companies (Panavision, ARRI rental, Clairmont Camera, Vantage Film), manufacturers of cameras (ARRI, Canon, Sony, Transvideo-Aaton), post-production companies (Digimage) and, of course, students. To have all these contributors to the art of cinematography in one room was a great success and a reassuring fact about the future of cinema.

Indeed, while the famous digital “revolution” has arrived as expected, it is clear that this revolution is still far from being unified. Each manufacturer, and each laboratory, worked independently to develop their own tools, often without the necessary consultation with the rest of the profession. This conference was thus intended to both inform about the possibilities of different workflows today and to try to find solutions to problems which begin to appear with the proliferation of these possibilities.

The conference started with an explanation of some key concepts of processing a digital image: the de-Bayering process, SDK (Software Development Kit), color processing, pipeline, and the notion of LUTs (Look Up Tables). This was intended to clarify the overall capture process, which is frequently managed automatically by the camera, and can escape the control of its user.

But the majority of cases are challenged today by the choice between a traditional workflow, and a raw workflow. The classic workflow uses the image processing offered by the camera when shooting in a given color space (RGB/Rec709), with a final image that has the same characteristics as that displayed on a monitor (at least if you use a well-calibrated monitor). It has the disadvantages of a more limited intervention for the post-production (de-Bayering is already performed, a limited color space even with a logarithmic gamma).

It is also possible to capture the image “raw,” which provides the possibility to de-Bayer in post-production, providing a better dynamic range and the chance to control sharpness and color gradingin a wider working color space.

At this point, there quickly arose the questions of choosing your tool, and the importance of those tools in the final result. Roberto Schaefer gave an example of the problems he encountered when shooting in raw, where, for reasons of production, he had to change lab during the post-production of his film. The two colorist worked on different software packages and he was unable at the second lab to find the images he had established with the first colorist. This was in fact the real issue of the conference: how to keep control of an image in the long process of making a film today. Or as the title of the conference said, how to handle problems with invisible reasons for solutions with visible results.

Faced with this problem, it is obvious that it would take much more than the two hours intended for the debate to end the discussion. However, some questions and expectations emerged from this meeting.

The implementation of the ACES protocol seems to be a way to greatly simplify exchanges, at least from the color point of view, between the images displayed at different stages, with different tools and cameras. Also, the generalization of the LUT (or in the case of ACES, an ODT) makes it easier to control the displayed and previewed images.

Nevertheless it is still necessary that the LUTs are properly established and verified at each stage of the workflow. The conference also enhanced the role of the DIT as a privileged intermediary in a raw  workflow, able to keep the cohesion between each step. As an example, a cinematographer in the room explained that, after months of editing, the directors became accustomed to the wrong proxies.

In my opinion, one of the major issues raised by this conference was the difficulty of the industry to respond to the strange duality of the needs of the cinematographer, requiring both the most absolute control of the image (which leads today to shooting in RAW, with all the choices directly accessible by the user during shooting or in post- production) and at the same time a tool extremely simple to use and to handle. Shooting on film also came back recurrently as an example of a standard tool that the operators have learned to master and to manipulate to achieve their creative goal. The apparent simplicity and choice often allows much greater creative possibilities.

But, to be really honest, many cinematographers are not necessarily that well informed and specialized, or simply not curious enough about workflows and possibilities of different settings.

In response to this need of cinematographers to regain control of their image, manufacturers who were present explained one by one their own processes of image management, raw or standard shooting. But every manufacturer uses and makes their own SDK, which is also the strength and uniqueness of their images. That is why, in response to the question of a participant asking if it would not be possible to provide a free SDK currently protected by patents, the manufacturers stated that the SDK is the result of long and costly work, and that it would only complicate the actual situation more, with only a small benefit for the user. Indeed manufacturers all use different SDKs, and even different software to treat their own images. Moreover, laboratories have also developed their own SDKs, hence the multiplication of possible workflows today and the rather anarchic situation that emerges.

At this level of the discussion it seemed difficult to find a point of conclusion, and finally few words still made sense to me. Thus, a member of Panavision spoke of the Pantone Color chart (a reference in printing) and a physical object that could allow everyone to check in situ the correctness of the chosen color. It seems there may be a very interesting tool to develop, or a protocol, that allows cinematographers to quickly validate conditions of observing images, which can help to judge definition, dynamic and color accuracy of the images that are shown. But for such a tool to be established, it must be made available to the camera rental houses, the set or location, and all the way through to the post-production houses.

The cinematographers from IMAGO called for more transparency on the one hand, and more information on the other, which is indeed an indispensable prerequisite to improve the existing situation, even if it seems insufficient to me.

In conclusion, this conference, surely too short to truly succeed, was an encouraging sign of the chance for true collaboration between all the different participants involved in the work of cinematography. And while the entire movie industry seems to suffer from a technological bulimia that wishes to impose the constant mastering of new tools, it is also an evidence of a shared commitment to simplification and transparency of the process, about which most users can only rejoice. The question now is whether this call will be heard.

Sony Seminar: Digital cameras, Creative Workflows. Problems with invisible reasons, solutions with visible results. A conference hosted with the help of Kazik Suwala (Camerimage), Ainara Porron (Sony Europe) & Irena Gruca (FilmPRO).

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Florian Berthellot is a graduate of the Louis Lumière School of Cinema. This was his first visit to Camerimage. Florian was part of the group of 12 film students brought to Camerimage by Transvideo and K5600.

 

 

 

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Hand Held on Handheld

“Hand Held on Hand Held” Video Series and Documentary

Marc Paturet, Owner of Hand Held Films in New York City, is launching a documentary series about filmmaking and film equipment.  The series will serve not only as a way for customers to familiarize themselves with Hand Held Films, but also to educate viewers about film production and the changes in new technology.  “Hand Held Films is not just a rental house, we are a community of filmmakers and it is our responsibility to nurture that community the best we can,” Marc said. The series will be hosted by the inimitable Marc himself, whose passion for the industry and years of experience is palpable in his on-camera appearances. Imagine Anthony Bourdain exploring parts unknown (and known) in the film business.

The first episode, “Hand Held Films on Construction,” begins with Marc in a hardhat. “I’m a little out of my league with this. It’s been a year since we’ve been in construction.” We see a sheet-rock dusted, cement pouring, sparks flying, drilling, steel erecting, glazing, whirlwind work in progress of the new rental headquarters of Hand Held Films at 129 West 27 Street in New York. Construction is somewhat like film production.

Marc explains how a rental house needs a large amount of space–a challenge in New York, to be sure. He is committed to his community, providing jobs, and improving the neighborhood. He renovated the exterior to improve its appearance and harmony with the surrounding area.

The concept of the series is educational and also to show how Hand Held participates in the community of filmmakers as well as  in their Chelsea community. The series continues with 3 or 4 web episodes of 4 or 5 minutes each:

  1. Construction and renovation of the space.
  2. Training the staff primarily on cleaning lenses and testing lenses in projection.
  3. Apprenticeship.
  4. Lens technician Tony Martinez stripping down an Optimo 24-290, cleaning, relubing, and  putting it back together with assistance from Peter Dawo.

A future series will include:

  1. Interviews with respected handheld cinematographers on handheld camera work.
  2. Different workers at Hand Held: seamstress, lighting repair, lens technician, their history and how they were hired.
  3. Following a colleague who spent three years at Hand Held and is now freelancing — on set and location.

 

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ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphics

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Kavon Elhami of Camtec with ARRI/ZEISS 35, 50, and 75 mm T1.9. Master Anamorphic Primes

 

Camtec in Burbank received one of the first “starter sets” of ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphic Prime lenses: 35, 50, and 75 mm T1.9.

Kavon and Jay Elhami kindly let me test them on an Alexa and on a Gecko lens projector. These 2x squeeze anamorphics are incredibly free of geometric distortion. In other words, if you’re doing a Day, Exterior, Wide Shot of Train pursued by a bunch bad guys–the train traveling left to right looks straight. There’s no bowing barrel distortion. And when you move in for a tight, close-focus product (pack) shot of a cereal box, the edges remain straight and perpendicular. You also will be the new hero of the agency art director, because text and logo remain true to color and contrast.

The Master Anamorphics are free of chromatic aberration. Edges do not turn magenta or green as you rack focus or deliberately go out of focus. High resolution is maintained all the way to the corners. The lenses do not breathe. Blacks are rich. There was no internal barrel flare (black become gray with flares or strong backlight).

And these lenses do have character. Bokehs have an interesting, different, beautiful quality. Skin tones are silky while eyelashes remain sharp. For the many who are intent on “dirtying” the image, flares are simple, controllable, and predictable.

Lens test as wine taste with some Robert Parker-like allusions: “Like a rich, breathless Chateau Margaux. Abundant contrast yet silky smooth. Ethereal lightness despite the complexity.  Unusually approachable for such a young, innovative wine…er…lens.”

The rest of the set will fill out as we approach NAB 2014: 40, 60, 100, 135 mm. There has been talk of anamorphic zooms as well.

 

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Leica Summicron-C Lens Update

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Leica Summicron-C lenses are here.

Just as Leica still camera lenses come as f/2 Summicron and f/1.4 Summilux models, there are now two lines of Leica Cine lenses. The two product lines offer a choice of aperture, performance, and price. The new Summicron-C lenses are T2.0. Leica Summilux-C lenses are T1.4. .The Summicron-C lenses are about 30% shorter and 20% lighter than the Summilux-C.

CW Sonderoptic, manufacturer and designer of the Leica Summilux-C lenses, is introducing 6 new T2.0 Summicron-C prime lenses: 18, 25, 35, 50, 75 and 100 mm. They should begin shipping in large quantities soon.

The Summicron-C set will grow to ten, with additions of 21, 29, 40, and 135 mm focal lengths. Prototypes were seen at various venues last year: first in Berlin, then at Micron Salon in Paris, NAB, and IBC.

Summicron-C lenses all have a maximum aperture of T2.0. Minimum aperture is T22 and there is a totally closed position. All have PL mounts, 95 mm front diameters, and are 101 mm / 4″ long (except the 135 mm, which is longer). Focus and iris barrel gears of Summicron-C and Summilux-C lenses line up in the same position relative to the lens mount, so follow focus and lens motors don’t have to be repositioned when you change lenses.

The image circle is greater than 34 mm, making them a good match for the RED Epic Dragon sensor in 6K mode.

Leica Summilux-C lenses remain the high-end, top of the line, hand-crafted in Wetzlar, artisanal pinnacles of performance.  They have cam focus, uniform focus scales, rear net holders, and threaded fronts. The set currently comprises 12 focal lengths.

The new Summicron-C lenses have helical focus mechanisms. The difference of one T-stop makes them more affordable, delivery times shorter, and quantities practical in larger numbers.

The new Leica Summicron-C lenses are a  cost-effective companion to their Summilux-C siblings, as comfortable on the new generation of PL mount cameras introduced lately (F5, F55, C300, C500, Epic Dragon) as they are on Alexa, F65, Epic and One.   The Summicrons have a simpler design than Summiluxes, making them more affordable. Nevertheless, quality and performance remains high.

I have checked them out on a lens projector. Resolution, contrast, and MTF achieve the same lofty heights as the other members of the high-end lens society (except the Summilux, which is in a league of its own). Geometry is straight and distortion-free. Breathing is comparable to most classic lenses. Of course,  the Summiluxes are almost breathless.

The lightweight and compact size let you pack an entire set in one small lens cases.

In summary, the Summicron-C set, all T2, consists of 18, 25, 35, 50, 75, and 100 mm.  The 21, 29, 40 and 135 mm will arrive later.

Cost of the initial set of 6 Leica Summicron-C lenses at the moment is $100,800 (72,200 Euros) or $16,800 per lens.

So, the difference between T1.4 and T2.0 is one stop and $8,500,  along with a few other details. Summilux-C lenses, if you are lucky to be at the front of the line, are currently going for $24,750 each, $198,000 for the “starter” set of 8.

Summicron-C lenses are available directly from Leica/CW Sonderoptic or from Band Pro.

Contact Seth Emmons at the Leica Store LA.
8783 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048

sales(at)cw-sonderoptic.de

Or contact Band Pro at www.bandpro.com

CW Sonderoptic will introduce them at the Band Pro Open House in Burbank on December 12 with delivery expected in December.

 

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Lost American Silent Films: 1912-1929

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The Library of Congress released a report today on “The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929.” Of 10,919 American silent feature films during that time, only 14 percent—about 1,575 titles—exist in their original format.

  • 14%  of the feature films produced domestically from 1912-1929 survived in their original-release 35 mm format.
  • 11%  of the films are complete as foreign versions or on lower-quality formats, such as 28 mm or 16 mm.
  • 5%  are incomplete, either missing a portion of the film or existing only as an abridged version.
  • Of the more 3,300 films that survived in any form, 26% were found in other countries.
  • Of the silent films located in foreign countries, 24% already have been repatriated to an American archive.
  • The Czech Republic had the largest collection of American silent films found outside the United States.

“The Library of Congress can now authoritatively report that the loss of American silent-era feature films constitutes an alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation’s cultural record,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “We have lost most of the creative record from the era.”

“This report is invaluable because the artistry of silent film is essential to our culture,” said Martin Scorsese.

In addition to the establishment of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB), the National Film Preservation Act of 1988 called for the Librarian of Congress to establish initiatives to protect the nation’s film heritage.  The report is available as a free download at the NFPB’s website www.loc.gov/film/ as well as CLIR’s website (www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub158).

An inventory can be found here.

Loss of nitrate film stock to fire, deterioration, industry neglect and destruction of prints and negatives were among the culprits.  Notable films considered lost in their complete form include Lon Chaney’s “London After Midnight” (1927); “The Patriot” (1928); “Cleopatra” (1917); “The Great Gatsby” (1926), and all four of Clara Bow’s feature films produced in 1928.  Only five of Will Rogers’ 16 silent features survived and 85 percent of features made by Tom Mix—Hollywood’s first cowboy star—are lost.

The report makes several recommendations:

  • Develop a nationally coordinated program to repatriate U.S. feature films from foreign archives.
  • Collaborate with studios and rights-holders to acquire archival master film elements on unique titles.
  • Encourage coordination among American archives and collectors to identify and preserve silent films that currently survive in lower-quality formats.
  • Develop a campaign to document unidentified titles.  The Library of Congress has sponsored annual workshops to identify unknown and lesser-known titles.
  • Create an audience and appreciation for silent feature films through exhibition and screenings.

I have additional suggestions.

  • Fund archival preservation programs to digitally scan and restore film collections. The Swiss and Norwegian governments have been doing this.
  • “Encourage coordination” needs to go further. It requires scanners, people, and resources.
  • Of course, digital archives are not much more resilient than nitrate film stock. Hard drives have an almost certain probability of failure.
  • So, we need to find a truly enduring and durable archival medium. Solid state?

 

 

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